[LP] The Rapture – IN THE GRACE OF YOUR LOVE (w/ “Children”)

now you’re gone and all that’s left, a piece of you i can’t forget

♫ The Rapture – Children

Nobody can call The Rapture a band that doesn’t evolve. Nothing illustrates that clearer then when their latest album In The Grace Of Your Love (stream the whole thing below) plays through in my iTunes and then their debut 1999 release Mirrors follows it automatically (and alphabetically). To hear such a jarring shift in sounds reminds me that there was a time pre- 2006’s Pieces of The People We Love that I really couldn’t get into them. But then came Pieces and it’s abundance of cowbell and good times. In my mind that album is a party in plastic packaging which is funny because I revisited it today and was surprised to hear how many of the tracks are actually kinda unremarkable. Good, but not great. Apparently my selective memory just focused on “Don Gon Do It,” “Whoo Alright” and a few others, extrapolating their top-notch awesomeness to cover my memory of the whole album. Weird.

Ok, so I am rambling about their old album because it struck me as quite relevant to how I feel about their latest. I have been listening to In The Grace Of Your Love for a week now and generally enjoying it. Generally. But when I start digging into it track by track I am left with a similar feeling as Pieces: tracks like “Come Back To Me,” “Children” (above), “It Takes Time To Be A Man,” and previously posted first single “How Deep Is Your Love” stand out as stellar tracks but the rest don’t ever beg for a repeat.

So again, I’m not really sure what the hell I’m Read more

[LP] Hooded Fang – ALBUM (w/ “Straight Up The Dial” & “Sleep Song”)

not looking for sympathy, just need some tenderness

♫ Hooded Fang – Straight Up The Dial

Bonus points if you noticed that this Hooded Fang album is not the one I dropped some tracks off of a few months back (and on the summer mega mix!). Album is the Toronto band’s debut LP from 2010 that I tracked down with a hunch that it would be good. High five for hunches because this thing is stellar! Lightly roasted marshmallow-y folk pop that sticks to your ears and leaves you wanting more. Plus there are horns! “Straight Up The Dial” bounces and shuffles with a perfect “do do do do do do” refrain that gets me grooving every time. Album‘s next track, “Laughing,” turns the energy up a bit as drums and bass propel the song along with great boy/girl vocals. However, the goodness doesn’t even begin to slow there as the hat-trick of “Green River,” “Highway Steam,” and “Promise Land” offer up enough varied tempos and grooves to make me think that Generationals added some more members and hot-boxed the studio. Awesome!

♫ Hooded Fang – Sleep Song

And then there is “Sleep Song.” Ahh, yes. Doesn’t make me want to sleep so much as skip along the beach with a radiant girl/sunset combo. To me, this is the sound of falling in love. With a person or a band, whatever, I’m smitten.

Don’t think that the tracks I haven’t mentioned are any less worthy, Album is magic from start to finish, I just didn’t want to blather too much. Although maybe I should! It seems that for some insane reason nobody is talking about these guys. Is there no justice in this world!? Whatever, I’m off to get their latest album, Tosta Mista.

Band links: Facebook / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

[QUICKIE] Baby Monster – BABY MONSTER

♫ Baby Monster – Russian Lights

1 of the best songs of the year (“Mr Success”) + a handful of gems make for a strong, sexy, & soothing debut from an under-loved duo. 7/10

[Quickies are mini-reviews that can fit into a 140 character tweet. They are of albums that people already know of but perhaps are curious about our take on it. What did you think of the disc?]

Band links: Facebook / Soundcloud

[EP] Capital Cities – CAPITAL CITIES EP (w/ EP Stream)

you are the kiss i don’t expect, remind me never to forget my youth, i’ll leave it up to you

YES! YES! Aww, hell yes. You know how you find a track you love only to get the full EP/LP and realize it was a total anomaly? Then you know that rarest of rare occasions when that gem leads you to a gold mine of jewels just like it?* This is it! We are in the gold mine, people!

“Safe and Sound” is one of the best songs of the year and so I naturally tracked down this bearded LA duo’s debut EP to see what else they had cooking. If you’ve hit play below then you know they are cooking some sweetness: Indie pop grooves that are as polished as they are infectious yet somehow don’t feel superficial. And that is a tough task. “Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast” is going to be my pick for next favorite track but it’s not easy denying the handclap funk of “Center Stage” or the amen sentiments of “I Sold My Bed But not My Stereo.” Jeez, thanks for the tough decisions, Capital Cities! At least one choice is easy, to buy the ep.

*see Mammal Club, Y Luv, Jack Littman, and Dream Jefferson, for similar experiences.

Capital Cities EP by Capital Cities

Band links: Facebook / Soundcloud

[QUICKIE] Jay-Z & Kanye West – WATCH THE THRONE

i pledge allegiance, uh, to my grandma, for that banana pudding, our piece of americana 

The boring “Otis” song/video made hopes low but jams like “Ni**as in Paris” & super ballad “Made in America” bring heat. I’m down. 6/10

[Quickies are mini-reviews that can fit into a 140 character tweet. They are of albums that people already know of but perhaps are curious about our take on it. What did you think of the disc?] Read more

[LP] Arrange – PLANTATION (w/ “Tiny Little Boy” & “When’d You Find Me”)

goddamn these thoughts and goddamn these people that remind me of you 

♫ Arrange – Tiny Little Boy

Sad is not always beautiful and beautiful is not always sad but when the two come together it is a whole greater than it’s parts. Today, the music of Florida’s Arrange is just that. Malcom Lacey is the man behind the music and his debut album Plantation is soaked in the raw emotion of a broken heart that is only more impressive when you consider his brief 18 years. The songs are fragile and tender, floating on their own air, an existence so delicate that you may not feel them until a few listens in. Here are my two favorites but you can listen/download the whole album free at his Bandcamp.

♫ Arrange – When’d You Find Me?

Crank the amp at Bandcamp

[EP] Nowonder – COLOR THE CONCRETE (w/ “White Light”)

signs of what you said, it’s killing me

♫ Nowonder – White Light

As if it wasn’t hard enough keeping up with great new tracks from bands we know and covering albums that melt faces, there is also the steady stream of amazing music being made by somehow unknown artists. Los Angeles’ Danny Choi is one of them and after a stint working in the music department of Yo Gabba Gabba he formed his solo project, Nowonder. With hints of Germany Germany, Ratatat, and Crystal Castles, Nowonder spins electronic music that feels to be telling a story. Whether it’s a dramatic battle scene in the agitated grinder “Manic” or a heartbroken night drive in the moonlit synths of “White Light,” his music always conjures scenes and emotions. The appropriately titled Color The Concrete EP is available for free at his Soundcloud. Now go get lost in it.

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[LP] Pompeya – TROPICAL (w/ “Tropical” & “Lazy” [Unreleased hidden track])

it’s all my fault

♫ Pompeya – Tropical

If an album is dropped in the woods and nobody is around to hear it then can it make a best of list? Yes. Of course. Especially if that album is released by one of my favorite Russian indie-tropical bands (refresh your Pompeya memory here). Why Pompeya’s debut album was self-released under minimal fanfare is a heartbreaking mystery as I think these guys have more talent going on than most of the chillwave poster-bands getting attention these days. Bendy funk beats slid between handclaps and far out guitars create a sonic world that wraps around my ears, transporting me to another dimension.

I’ve been spinning this album for a looong while now but was having the hardest time honing in on a song to highlight because every time I pressed play on the awesome opening track “Slaver” I basically dipped out of this reality until my iTunes finally went silent and I was rudely woken back up. The 9 tracks and 45 minutes of music passing like one perfect mixtape, seamless in it’s flow and rhythm. But enough of me whining about picking favorites! I’ve gone with the title track here because title tracks are usually cool, this one being no exception. Starting off with a little 80s radio jam soft guitar noodling we are quickly swept into full synth and magic mode. The only reason this track didn’t make it in my Tropical Assault mix is because it is already its own tropical assault mix.

♫ Pompeya – Lazy (unreleased hidden track)

Pompeya were kind enough to hook TBE up with an unreleased hidden track that they planned on releasing but couldn’t fit into the sequencing for Tropical. And fair enough, “Lazy” would have been too mellow and taken away from the medium pace aural safari that they settled on. On its own, however, its a nice little slice of midnight in garden of Pompeya funk.

Other Tropical highlighs obviously include the album versions of “Untitled” and “Cheneese” as well as new jams “Slaver” amd “90” and “Baby (Dady)” and and and…. the list goes on. Grab the album for free at their Soundcloud and then tell everyone you care about to do the same.

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